Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Progress, as we have come to understand it, means growth, the relentless process of more and more, of bigger and bigger… (and) the need for…the anonymous power of the administrators… Monopolization of power causes the drying up or oozing away of all authentic power sources in the country…. This generation, trained like its predecessors in hardly anything but the various brands of the my-share-of-the-pie social and political theories, has taught us a lesson about manipulation, or, rather, its limits, which we would do well not to forget… The manipulation addicts, those who fear it unduly no less than those who have set their hopes on it, hardly notice when the chickens come home to roost… They discovered what we call today the Establishment and what earlier was called the System, and it was this discovery that made them turn to the praise of violent action…. It goes against the very nature of self-interest to be enlightened… The self qua self cannot reckon in terms of long-range interest… Self-interest, when asked to yield to “true” interest — that is, the interest of the world as distinguished from that of the self — will always reply, Near is my shirt, but nearer is my skin.


“When we inject people with positivity, their outlook expands. They see the big picture. When we inject them with neutrality or negativity, their peripheral vision shrinks. There is no big picture, no dots to connect” (p. 95).
Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity, 2009

The Constitution of Knowledge

Trump showed himself to be an attentive student of disinformation and its operative principle: Reality is what you can get away with…. Previous presidents and national politicians. They may spin the truth, bend it, or break it, but they pay homage to it and regard it as a boundary. Trump’s approach is entirely different…. He was asserting that truth and falsehood were subject to his will…. The lying reflects a strategy,… a national-level epistemic attack: a systematic attack, emanating from the very highest reaches of power, on our collective ability to distinguish truth from falsehood….
From The Constitution of Knowledge

Elon Musk: “Ultra Hardcore”

To be a man is to dominate others. This is what I absorbed as a boy: masculinity means mastery, power, control. To be socialized into manhood is to gain a love of hierarchy and a willingness to do whatever is necessary to preserve your own position within it. … (For Elon Musk these) avenues of escape…provided a terrain where the mandates of masculinity could be fulfilled, via conquests of a more cerebral sort.
Ultra Hardcore” Ben Tarnoff

The domination/submission paradigm

In saying that the domination/submission paradigm lies at the basis of many of our contemporary ills, I do not say that all of our ills can be traced to it, nor do I say that it is productive only of ill. In fact, I hold that certain versions of it can be useful and appropriate in various limited, specific, functional situations… However, in our culture we have tended to award to the functionally dominant persons and institutions a total value of superiority, privilege, and power that has often led to injustice, damage, and suffering.

I am suggesting that domination is basic to a great many ills from which our culture does suffer and that it may be possible to replace it with an alternative paradigm that would afford some improvement. I think that each of these paradigms lies at a sufficiently deep level in our consciousness to be a unifying principle for a great many particular behaviors, and therefore if we deal with the matter on a deep level, we could thereby effect alterations in the relatively superficial attitudes and actions much more efficiently than by trying to change those feelings and events piecemeal.

Beatrice Bruteau. a pioneer in interspirituality and contemplative thinking

Train Yourself to Always Show Up

We desperately need a spiritual rewiring in our time. Imagine a society in which we learn to see one another in our pain, to ask one another, “What happened to you?” Imagine that we hear one another’s stories, say amen to one another’s pain, and even pray for one another’s healing. I call this the amen effect: sincere, tender encounters that help us forge new spiritual and neural pathways by reminding us that our lives and our destinies are entwined. Because, ultimately, it is only by finding our way to one another that we will begin to heal.
Sharon Brous

Baton Charge: “Tar”

January 18

An orchestra, as Lydia points out, is “not a democracy,” but, nonetheless, might it be helpful if classical musicians took the word “maestro” and slung it out of circulation? Does the aura that enfolds it not lie at the rotten root of the story of Lydia Tár? If you worship a maestro, after all, don’t be surprised if you wind up as a slave to the rhythm.
Anthony Lane

The Deification of Donald Trump

The former president posted a video called “God Made Trump” on Truth Social. It begins:

On June 14, 1946, God looked down on his planned paradise and said: ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God gave us Trump.” God had to have someone willing to go into the den of vipers. Call out the fake news for their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s. The poison of vipers is on their lips. So God made Trump. …God said, “I will need someone who will be strong and courageous. Who will not be afraid or terrified of wolves when they attack. A man who cares for the flock. A shepherd to mankind who won’t ever leave or forsake them. I need the most diligent worker to follow the path and remain strong in faith. And know the belief in God and country.”
The Deification of Donald Trump Poses Some Interesting Questions